Photo provided by Emily Dallaire
After graduating from MSU in 2016, Emily Dallaire moved to Minneapolis, Minnesota to put her Professional Writing (PW) and Experience Architecture (XA) degrees to work. She is currently a Marketing Strategist for Sundog Interactive, a marketing consultant firm. Sundog works with manufacturing companies to help them optimize their marketing efforts. This involves working with clients to help them understand and customize content for their customers, improve technology platforms, and measure their marketing efforts through analytics.
As a Marketing Strategist, Emily guides customer research for Sundog’s clients. “In a typical strategy-based project, I work to be the voice of the customer throughout every stage of research, design, development, and delivery,” she says. “I pretty much do everything from client discovery workshops, to customer research, and a little bit of UX [user experience] design.”
Although there is no “typical work day” for Emily, her weeks are structured based on the type of project she is working on. If she is building a survey for a client, she will brainstorm questions and design the survey, then hold a longer meeting with the research team to finalize the survey, and finally send it along to stakeholders. And there are always meetings to attend, research sessions or workshops to run for clients, internal UX-related projects to work on, and research analysis documents to write.
Reflecting on her time in the PW and XA programs, Emily says, “I loved being in an empathetic field, where I could explore different people’s experiences, and make them better.” That mindset made Emily successful throughout her time at MSU. Outside of her PW and XA courses Emily also got involved in clubs, volunteer opportunities, research positions, and internships.
Emily had the opportunity to participate in the first PW internship program in London and work for a UX design firm. The experience working in a fast-paced professional environment reaffirmed her passion for designing user experiences. She also presented undergraduate research at the annual Conference on College Composition and Communication as a sophomore and worked with MSU Professor Liza Potts on her Participatory Memory research project. Reflecting on her time with Emily, Dr. Potts says, “Emily Dallaire is an outstanding human being. Working with her on our participatory memory projects has been a pleasure because of her knowledge of the subject and her determination to do good work. I am most thankful for Emily being such a strong example for our XA and PW students.”
The summer before her senior year, Emily had an internship where she was the standalone UX person, and it was the knowledge and skills gained in PW and XA courses that gave her the confidence to work alone as the voice of the user. This proved to be invaluable experience for her current position. “A lot of my job duties at Sundog involve diving into the customer experience through various research methods, which I learned firsthand from my courses and my mentors at MSU,” she says. “I’ve been able to create and perfect user journey maps, personas, and many other UX documents to represent the customer mindset that my clients need to understand, and also be able to point to the design thinking process throughout a project.” She has also had to pitch the UX process to skeptical developers, work with a team of designers who didn’t see the importance of iterative research, and create reference documents for clients. Emily’s knowledge of the UX design process and her ability to share its merits have made her a huge asset to Sundog and its clients.
Emily has also been able to connect with the extensive Spartan alumni network in Minneapolis during her time at Sundog. She has attended alumni networking events, meet-ups at MSU games, and alumni breakfasts. They’ve been a great resource, giving her tips on life in Minneapolis, the industries nearby, and the best networking events to attend. As her first year of post-grad life begins coming to a close, there is no doubt that even more great things are in store for Emily Dallaire.
Text by Erin Surge